The Ongoing Student Athlete: Jessica Bivins

AMERICUS, Ga. – In college athletics it can be easy to forget that the stars we watch on the court can be stars off the court. After helping the Lady Hurricanes to their greatest season in the NCAA Division II era, Jessica Bivins has accomplished an equally-impressive feat off of the court. Bivins is one of 26 student-athletes in the country to receive the NCAA's Ethnic Minority and Women Enhancement scholarships. Bivins will use her scholarship as she begins graduate school to earn her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

The NCAA is awarding 26 scholarships worth $6,000 apiece to 13 ethnic minority and 13 female recipients as part of its annual Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Scholarship program. Developed to increase opportunities for qualified minority and female candidates, the scholarships are a one-time, non-renewable award given to college graduates who will be entering their initial year of postgraduate studies.

To qualify, applicants must be seeking admission or have been accepted into a sports administration or similar academic program. The applicant's academic interests should prepare him or her for a career in intercollegiate athletics, providing a service to the NCAA membership.

Bivins on the importance of the scholarship, "As a black woman and the first person in my immediate family to attend a four-year university, there's naturally pressure on me to succeed. Graduating with my Exercise Science undergraduate degree will be a great accomplishment and a profound achievement, but in three years, graduating with a doctorate in physical therapy will be an even greater accomplishment. This will signify that I can do anything I put my mind to regardless (of) the struggle and obstacles I have endured."

The NCAA scholarship is another great academic achievement for the Orlando, Florida native. She is repeat member of the PBC Presidential Honor Roll and was named to the Peach Belt All-Academic team in her junior and senior seasons.